U.S. 17 bridges to be completed by end of the month

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

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At a slow crawl, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) approaches the finish line of a year-and-a-half long project working on two bridges along U.S. 17 – bridge 25 which is over the Pamlico-Tar River and bridge three which is over the Norfolk Southern Railroad line, north of Whichards Beach Road. 

According to NCDOT Resident Engineer, Sarah Lentine, the bridges could open by Memorial Day weekend, but that is not a guarantee. 

She said, “they can see the finish line,” referring to the contractor, Caton Construction Group Inc. 

Lentine confirmed that Monday, May 15 was the original opening date for the bridges; however additional work was required on decks and joints on bridge 25. Paving markings have yet to be painted, but Lentine said it would not prevent the bridges from opening, because NCDOT can paint temporary lines until permanent ones are added. 

The total cost of construction is $11.4 million of state funding, according to NCDOT’s Construction Progress Report webpage. 

Bridge three was demolished then reconstructed due to its age. It was originally built in 1941, but reconstructed in 1963 to accommodate more lanes of traffic. In 2019 it scored a poor sufficiency rating on NCDOT’s bridge inspections, per earlier reports from Washington Daily News. Out of a possible 100 points, bridge three garnered just 48.9. Too, it no longer met a state requirement that bridges must have a vertical clearance of 23 feet above railroad tracks. It has been 21 feet above the tracks. 

Bridge 25 saw preservation and repair work to the entire bridge.